BEMUS POINT—Springville was reminded why Maple Grove is back-to-back New York State Class D champion runners-up, when they were handed a 51-8 loss Aug. 31.
In the first half, Maple Grove produced three scores in a three-minute span, and later put together a pair of scores in 80 seconds in the second half.
If there was a bright spot for Springville, it was junior quarterback Nick Emmick, who set a school record with 16 completed passes in a game. His record-breaking completion went for the Griffins only score for 10 yards to Topher Elkins with 3:31 left in the contest.
The previous record had stood for 36 years, dating back to when Mark Nugent set the mark in 1982 with 15 in a game against Depew.
Emmick finished the contest by going 16-for-32 for 122 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also scored a two-point conversion on a run after salvaging a busted play.
The game featured a Red Dragon explosive offense and a smothering defense that shut down Springville’s running game.
Circumstances early in the game sealed the Griffins’ fate that included poor drive starts, and playing into a blinding sun that was almost as effective as the Red Dragon defense.
“It’s not the way you want to start, especially after eight-and-a-half months of long work,” Springville head coach Rob Valenti said. “We came out flat. One of the things we talked about this week was starting fast and getting after it and executing. We weren’t happy with the way we started the scrimmage last Saturday when we were also flat and we came out today and played from behind the entire night.”
Maple Grove often exploited Springville’s defensive backfield with pass plays that either went for touchdowns or were the direct result of them.
In the final six minutes of the first quarter, Maple Grove put the game away with three quick scores in three minutes. The first came after a 28-yard scamper that made it 14-0. The second was a 5-yard run, set up by a 40-plus run on the previous play for a 21-0 game. Pinned back deep, Springville threw a pick-6 that had Maple Grove in command at 27-0 with 2:53 left in the first.
Sean Barry was the team’s brightest spot on defense. He was able to slow the Red Dragon momentum with a forced fumble on a punt return after Maple Grove’s fourth score, and it led to Springville’s best drive of the half. The defense played its most inspired ball after that, by forcing two punts and holding Maple Grove off the scoreboard for the entire second quarter.
Maple Grove came out strong in the second half with two quick scores on the opening possessions. The first was an 11-yard pass that was followed by a 1-yard run. On the former, Jordan Salzler blocked the point-after attempt.
Defensively, the team was led by a ‘Blackberry’ attack. Both Barry and Bryson Black recorded eight team-high solo tackles. Barry had three tackles-for-loss and the team’s only sack for a nine-yard loss, while Black recorded a loss on one of his eight stops.
In addition to being a top defensive player, Black punted seven times on special teams and produced nearly 50 yards on offense through nine runs and five catches. Between offense and defense, he was the feature player on nearly 30 plays.
Up next for Springville is the home-opener Sept. 7 with a 7:30 p.m. start against Medina-Lyndonville-Barker, who enters the game at 1-0 in division play after a 14-12 win against Depew last week. Springville will have their work cut out for them in containing Mustang quarterback Izaiah Rhim, who scored both Medina touchdowns last week on runs of 58 and 53 yards.